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World Aids Day in Uganda

Posted by Jaime Traynor, Shanti Volunteer in Uganda

I met up with Yvvone, one of the women’s group leaders, at the Kasana Health Centre. She had invited us to attend a World AIDS Day Commemoration that she had helped to organize in Bombo, another town in Luweero district. We got a ride with some other health workers from Kasana, and headed over to the playground where the day’s events were being held. It was really interesting listening to the various speakers talk about what is being done to combat HIV/AIDS in Uganda, and what more still needs to be addressed. In between speeches, there were all sorts of performances by local drummers, dancers, singers, and, for the opening and closing anthems, even a military band. Yvvone was busy much of the day helping to organize sports matches that were taking place at the end of the scheduled portion of the day, which meant that I spent the majority of my time sitting in the crowd watching the performances and speakers, and talking with other spectators. It was a great way to recognize the importance of the day, particularly given the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among those who access services at workshops at the centre. 

Dancers perform in front of the large crowd assembled for a World AIDS Day commemoration in Bombo Town.

Yvonne Ssenvume takes her work seriously is the leader of the Shanti women’s beading group. She is 49 years old and living with HIV. Since joining the group, Yvonne has gained the confidence to conduct a meeting and she has better communication skills. The women’s group provides Yvonne with a great support network. She now has women she can talk to which helps her feel less stressed. Yvonne uses the income she makes from her jewelry to pay her children’s and her grandchildren’s school fees. Her dream is to save enough money to buy a car and learn how to drive. Yvonne feels strongly that health is connected to happiness. She wakes up at 6am three times a week to run in the early morning. She also goes to yoga to help strengthen her muscles. In her spare time, Yvonne likes to play net ball, watch TV, and walk with her friends.

Picture: Dancers perform in front of the large crowd assembled for a World AIDS Day commemoration in Bombo Town.

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